In the world of design and build, it's usually professionals who employ the tricks of the trade for best effect. In the case of Martin and Barbara Udale's home, it is the building itself that turned tricks on a couple of architect Martin's senior colleagues.

Each thought this was an industrial-conversion in the manner of others in this neighbourhood.

"How old is the building?" they said. Martin replied, "2007". Their response? "Yes, yes, but when was the original building built?"

His reply? "It was finished in 2007". He says, "there is usually about three takes before they go 'Really!' "

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It's the concrete exterior, stairwell wall and floors, along with the 3m-plus stud and the English-made Crittall-brand steel windows that are front and centre of this deception.

For Martin, whose background is commercial property, it was a kitchen photo in the "for sale" portfolio back in 2009 that appealed to his industrial design aesthetic.

"Exposed aluminium ducting, steel windows ... I said to Barb 'we have to take a look at this'."

There they discovered style, texture, integrity and skyhigh comfort on the site of a former nondescript, single-level engineering workshop.

It was the brainchild of film industry colleagues Craig Muirhead and Grant Bailey, who bought the land to build two adjoining multi-storey homes for themselves.

Grant, a designer with a carpentry background, had his design concept in mind when he chanced upon 110-year-old windows he salvaged from a derelict factory to use in both homes.

Complete with pristine hardware, these gems became the architectural lynchpin he had been looking for and he spared no expense renovating, re-galvanising and hand-painting the windows.

For this home, he also had a matching Crittall door set made for the west-facing lounge balcony and an additional window for the east-side dining area.

Front and back, the windows, with their slim sight-lines, are the dramatic connection to an Auckland urban cityscape.

This connection starts at the ground floor courtyard off the rear casual lounge/office and takes in first floor living areas serviced by one of two powder rooms.

It continues throughout the second level bedrooms/main bathroom and the third level rooftop lounge flanked by garden decks.

"People say there is no aspect here, but if you go up to the roof at night you have the most fabulous views. It's a house full of sky," says Barbara.

"The thing I've loved in winter is that there is none of that sogginess you have in Auckland. The airflow is fabulous and the heat from the fire rises right up through the house."

This home has tricked Martin and Barbara, too. They'd been here for some time before they discovered the source of glowing light in the concrete stairwell was from perspex rods which Craig, a gaffer with an interest in lighting, installed in boltholes from the concrete boxing.

Craig's touch is in the finish on this concrete wall, which he enhanced with beeswax from his father's hives in Glendowie.

"Those guys went through the pain and the angst of building this place," says Martin. "With just two of us, it is too big. We need something like this on a smaller footprint."

16B BURLEIGH STREET, GRAFTON, AUCKLAND

3 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms, 2 car parking

SIZE (more or less): Land 156sq m, floor area 283sq m, plus outdoor deck and patio.

SET SALE DATE: Oct 11.

INSPECT: Call to view.

SCHOOLS: Kowhai Intermediate, Newmarket School, Auckland Girls' Grammar School, Auckland Grammar.

CONTACT: Julie Quinton, 021 894 071 and Ellis Prince, 021 261 2590, Bayleys.